Media release: Matt Hancock and US programming boss, Gena McCarthy, join TV festival line-up


THE Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will deliver a keynote speech, followed by a Q&A chaired by comedian, writer, TV and radio presenter, Frank Skinner, at this year’s Edinburgh TV Festival, it was announced today (TUES).

Matt Hancock said: “I am thrilled to be speaking at this summer’s Edinburgh TV Festival. Our broadcasting industry is world-class and I look forward to discussing how the government can help the sector continue to go from strength to strength in the future.”

Advisory chair, Phil Edgar-Jones, said: “Matt Hancock is passionate about issues facing the media industry having spoken previously about consolidation, competition issues and the regulation of the social media giants.

“He has driven digital transformation in the Cabinet Office and I look forward to hearing his thoughts on the future of the industry – a key theme being discussed at this year’s festival.”

Elsewhere, in the festival’s Meet the US commissioners strand, Emmy-nominated programming executive, Gena McCarthy, executive vice-president, head of Programming of global media company, A+E Networks’ Lifetime Unscripted; and head of Programming, for FYI; will outline her vision for the brands, reveal some upcoming highlights and talk though her commissioning wish list for producers.

McCarthy first joined A+E Networks’ Lifetime in 2010 and returned in March this year in an expanded role to oversee all non-fiction development and production.

McCarthy has overseen FYI since 2013 and her credits include hit series Married at First Sight, now airing on Lifetime, which delivered record ratings for the brand; and Seven Year Switch, now a successful format as well. In her first stint at Lifetime, McCarthy oversaw Dance Moms and the Emmy-winning hit, Project Runway, and the award-winning Coming Home. She also helped create and launch this breakthrough lifestyle entertainment brand for A+E Networks.

Prior to joining Lifetime, McCarthy was senior vice-president development and production for Discovery Channel, where she managed the creation and execution of more than 500 primetime series and specials, including the innovative hits, Pitchmen, Dual Survivor and also served as executive producer for Dirty Jobs.

She also oversaw the development and production teams across all content, including blockbusters, Deadliest Catch and Man vs. Wild.

Festival director, Lisa Campbell, said: “We are delighted to welcome Gena to the Festival for the first time. A+E was recently awarded Network of the Year at the inaugural NPACT Impact Awards and this is an excellent opportunity for producers to really get to know how they can contribute to its continued success.”

As a festival and a charity, the Edinburgh Television Festival is committed to helping young people from all backgrounds gain access to the TV Industry. It runs two young talent schemes, Ones to Watch and The Network.

Both schemes aim to ensure that the people working in television are as diverse as the audience watching it.

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